With Luke Fickell now off the table the search for Mark Dantonio's replacement in East Lansing moves on.
Sources tell FootballScoop Bret Bielema has let Michigan State know he's highly interested in the job. After two seasons with the Patriots, Bielema recently accepted the outside linebackers job on Joe Judge's new staff with the New York Giants. The former Arkansas head coach had a lot of success at Wisconsin, where he went 68-24 including a 37-19 mark in the Big Ten with conference titles and Rose Bowl trips in the 2010, '11 and '12 seasons.
A big personality, Bielema would win the press conference and battle Jim Harbaugh, Ryan Day and James Franklin for attention -- something that could be of use for Michigan State. He's also highly motivated to take the job, meaning he'd come without haggling over price.
Pete Thamel writes that Cal's Justin Wilcox, and Kentucky's Mark Stoops as two other guys that the Spartans may reach out to, and Adam Rittenberg tweets that Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry and Central Michigan's Jim McElwain could be potential targets as well. (Rittenberg has since followed saying Pry will remain at Penn State.)
Price could be an issue here. Michigan State paid Dantonio $4.4 million in 2019, less than what Stoops made at Kentucky ($4.75 million). Would Michigan State really be willing to go into the $5 million range for a guy that's 44-44 in seven seasons as a head coach?
With Fickell -- and Pat Narduzzi, and Matt Campbell, and Mel Tucker, and Robert Saleh -- now out of the picture, one must circle back to what we Early update on the search at Michigan State
">wrote early last week:
There was speculation back months ago that Dantonio planned to step away late in the coaching change cycle so that Michigan State would somewhat be forced to turn to defensive coordinator Mike Tressel to step into the head coaching role. Today, Tressel was named interim head coach; and has to be considered a candidate for the full-time position.
With the search now in Week 2 and the top-level candidates all staying put, the process has now moved from "Who can we get?" to "Who will take this job?" Bielema is there for the taking and Tressel is.... there. Butch Jones would love the job....
Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.